The AFL news cycle loves nothing more than trade buzz, speculations and rumours and evidently the fans do too with the topic driving the consumption of sports news websites around the country.
The trade period has quickly become the biggest event on the off-season footy calendar and even now in early February, its reach is felt across all 18 clubs – just look at the Darcy Moore to Richmond link from Tuesday morning.
Last year we saw 29 trades completed in the period, 56 if you include draft day swaps, and four players moving via free agency.
Of course, players can dominate the trade media landscape without even moving clubs, with the two most talked about players of 2019, Stephen Coniglio and Joe Daniher, staying put at their current clubs in the end.
Going into the 2020 season, the class of players attracting trade buzz is loaded, but who will take Coniglio’s crown as the king of trade rumour and speculation?
Here’s the top 10:
1. Jordan de Goey
De Goey has everything required to be this year’s trade buzz king. He’s out of contract, he’s a high profile player at a high profile club (that has reported salary cap issues), his destination of choice (if he were to leave) is unknown, and he’s shown the capacity to previously dominate the headlines back in 2018 before he last re-signed with the Pies.
The forward recently parted ways with his manager and the Herald Sun recently reported he returned to pre-season training “overweight and unfit”. How all these factors play into his future at Collingwood is unclear at this stage, but North Melbourne was willing to offer him a $5 million offer last time around and there’s no reason to believe the market won’t be just as big in 2020.
2. Jeremy Cameron
The consensus is that Jeremy Cameron will re-sign with GWS and that it is simply a matter of time. However, until he does, he will be one of the prime trade buzz leaders. It’s almost an annual tradition at this point that the biggest unsigned Giants player grabs headlines and with Lachie Whitfield recommitting in the pre-season, that leaves Cameron as the top dog.
The reigning Coleman Medallist said in January that he is in no hurry to re-sign with the Giants, but that discussions were “ticking away nicely”. If Cameron didn’t seem so likely to re-sign, he would probably be on top of this list. Of course, until he does put pen to paper, he will remain one of the key players to watch.
3. Joe Daniher
Daniher only sits at three because it seems inevitable that he will nominate the Swans in restricted free agency and put the ball in Essendon’s court to match whatever the offer is.
We know the story here. Daniher wanted a fresh start in Sydney, but the two teams could not come to an agreement on a trade, sending him back to Tullamarine. The key forward will likely miss the first half of the year as he continues his rehabilitation from ongoing groin issues. The Daniher situation has mostly played out, but seems to have a few more twists and turns left to play out.
4. Darcy Moore
Channel Seven’s Tom Browne has linked Moore to Richmond, with the Tigers' desire to replace Alex Rance. Moore is out of contract at the Pies and with the club re-signing Brodie Grundy and Scott Pendlebury already and De Goey also needing a new contract, will the Pies be able to fit everybody in?
Moore had his best season yet in 2019, playing 17 games and being among the best key defenders in the competition when healthy. He was strongly linked to Sydney in 2018 when he last came out of contract.
5. Ollie Wines
Ollie Wines may be the strangest entry on this list. He spent 2019 as Port Adelaide captain and is under contract until 2022, but reportedly wished to move to Victoria and join Carlton. The suggestion from the Herald Sun was that Wines’ camp had asked the Blues to work out a trade, but the club ultimately decided not to do so.
He now enters 2020 on the long-term injury list after another shoulder setback and has been removed as Power captain as the club goes back to its traditional roots of only having one skipper. Whether Wines is still at Alberton in 2021 and how it all plays out from here will be very interesting.
6. Brad Crouch
Brad Crouch reportedly wanted out of the Crows in the 2019 trade period with The Age reporting that he approached the Suns on the eve of the deadline and was willing to move for less than he initially asked for.
Crouch is out of contract and was reportedly after a six-year deal close to $1 million per season, which the Suns rejected. Adelaide is in a new era with a new coach and whether Matthew Nicks can convince Crouch to re-sign between now and October or whether he once again attempts to make his exit, it will be a situation to watch closely.
7. Zac Williams
The Giants are expecting Zac Williams to explore his options, before eventually opting to re-sign with the club. Coach Leon Cameron was very confident when asked on SEN about this situation last week.
Williams shone late in the 2019 season, filling in through the midfield with a number of key GWS players on the shelf. The star half back having the versatility to play through the midfield has likely upped his value. If he is still available come October, Williams might be one of the hottest properties on the market.